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15 April 2011, 10:08

Final pre-release version of Ubuntu 11.04 arrives

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Ubuntu Logo The Canonical development team has released the second and final beta for Ubuntu 11.04, code named "Natty Narwhal. As previously reported, there will be no release candidate for Ubuntu 11.04.

Following public discussions about any last minute reasons to pull Unity as the distribution's default desktop and use the classic GNOME desktop instead, the developers have decided to move forward with Unity, which is developed in-house by the Ubuntu developers. The ARM version of Ubuntu will ship with Canonical's new Unity 2D interface by default. The Unity Launcher, a sort of 'dock' meets taskbar and notification area, can be used to launch applications pinned to it or switch between running applications; file type aware drag-and-drop is also supported.

Other new Unity Launcher features in 11.04 include full keyboard navigation support and the addition of quick-lists to the context sensitive menus. Users can search for applications and files using the implementation of Lenses. Furthermore, by pressing the Super or Windows key, users can launch the "Dash" start screen for various common tasks, including search; alternatively, clicking the Ubuntu logo in the top-left corner of the screen will also open the "Dash".

Based on the 2.6.38 Linux kernel, Ubuntu 11.04 Beta 2 features a number of package updates over 10.10, including Firefox 4.0, version 2.0 of the Banshee media player and LibreOffice 3.3.2. Although version 1.2 of the Upstart event-based init replacement was released on 22 March, Natty Narwhal includes the 0.9.4-1 release. Other changes include improvements to the Software Centre, such as support for ratings and reviews, as well as updates to Ubuntu One, Canonical's cloud storage platform.

As this is the last development release before the final version arrives, Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon asks users to install it and to provide feedback and report any bugs that they encounter.

Further information about this second and final beta can be found in the mailing list announcement and in the release notes. A list of planned features and changes for version 11.04 of Ubuntu is available on the Blueprints for Natty page.

Ubuntu 11.04 Beta 2 is available to download from one of the project's mirrors. Users currently running Ubuntu 10.10 on a desktop system can upgrade by pressing Alt+F2 and typing update-manager -d into the command box.

The final version of Natty Narwhall is scheduled to be released on 28 April 2011. The latest stable release is version 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat", while the current Long Term Support (LTS) version is Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS "Lucid Lynx". Ubuntu is sponsored by UK based Canonical Ltd.

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